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Do You Need a License to Drive a Scooter? (All US States) 

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Living in a big city and thinking of switching to a scooter to beat the traffic? Driving a scooter can be better for daily commutes, even in smaller cities. But before you zoom away on a two-wheeler, find out how to do it without breaking the law or risking insurance.  

So, do you need a license to drive a scooter in your state? Here’s the answer: 

Whether you need a driver’s license to drive a scooter depends on where you want to operate it. The law varies from state to state, but most DMVs are equally strict on car and scooter drivers. A valid driver’s license is a standard requirement, but some states make a special license and registration mandatory for motor-driven two-wheelers.  

The state vehicle law also depends on scooter engines and max speeds. For example, the rules for a 50cc scooter are usually different for those with larger engines. Similarly, electric scooters may have different rules from a moped or motorcycle. Additionally, auto insurance requirements vary from state to state per the two-wheeler type. 

So, the best way to move forward is to check what your state’s law says about driving a scooter without a license. And don’t forget auto insurance – fewer wheels do not lower the risk of driving a vehicle. Get the best coverage that fits you like a glove using Way – the #1 auto super app! Choose Way+ services if you want the best service all around – get unbeatable offers on city and airport parking, auto insurance, auto refinance, car wash, gas discounts, EV charging, and more. 

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If you are looking for a quick answer, keep reading to find out what each US state’s law says about driving a scooter legally. 

Do you need a license to drive a scooter in California? 

As per California Vehicle Code, a valid driver’s license is necessary to operate a motorized scooter. Breaking the rule could get you fined for an infraction or misdemeanor based on the circumstance. It can also affect your insurance claim in case of an accident.  

California classifies any two-wheeler with an electric motor, a floorboard, and handlebars as a motorized scooter. The maximum speed set for these vehicles is 15mph. Anyone over 16 with a learner’s permit or driver’s license can drive a scooter in California. Electric scooters do not require registration, special insurance, or a license plate; you just need a driver’s license.  

Learn more about driving two-wheelers in California on the state’s official DMV website.  

You Might Also Like: Can You Get a DUI on an Electric Scooter?

What kind of scooter does not require a license in NY? 

Based on their top speed, the New York Department of Motor Vehicles classifies scooters into three classes. 

Class A (30-40 mph) requires M/MJ license, and you can drive it on any traffic lane. But you do not need a special license for Class B (20-30 mph) and Class C (< 20 mph top speed) scooters. But you can operate the slower scooters only along the shoulder or the right-hand lane.  

NY puts mopeds and scooters in the “low-speed vehicle” category. But they consider it as limited-use motorcycles, so the related licensing and registration laws apply. You can read more about the specific rules for different two-wheeler types here. 

man driving scooter in the city - do you need a license to drive a scooter

Here’s a brief look at the rules for driving a scooter in other states. For more details, check your state’s DMV website for up-to-date information.  

States That Require Standard Driver’s License 

Colorado: Low-powered scooters must be registered, but you don’t need a special license to drive them. You’ll need complying insurance to register your vehicle. 

Connecticut: You don’t have to register your scooter or apply for a special license if it’s less than 50cc. Liability insurance is also not needed. But you can drive only on the right lane due to the slow speeds. 

Delaware: You only need a valid driver’s license to own and operate a motor scooter in Delaware, as long as the vehicle meets DMV-recommended safety requirements. 

Georgia: Scooters under 50cc do not require registration or license, but you must be at least 15 years of age to drive it. Low-speed scooters are not allowed on a roadway with a minimum speed limit of 35mph. 

Idaho: Along with a valid driver’s license, you may need to title and register the scooter depending on its type and top speed. You must wear a helmet if you are under 18 years old. 

Indiana: If you are 15 or older, you can drive a scooter with an unexpired standard driver’s license or a Class B MDC endorsement. But you cannot go over 35 mph; stay off highways and sidewalks. 

Iowa: Adults with a valid driver’s license do not need a special permit to drive scooters. But if you are 18 or younger, apply for a moped license – even if you have an instruction permit or standard license.  

Other states that do not require special permits or motorcycle licenses to operate a scooter are:  

Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. 

Read: How Long Can You Drive With an Expired License?

States That Require Motorcycle/Special License 

Alabama: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) categorizes all motorized cycles, mopeds, and scooters as “motor-driven cycles,” and you need a “B” restricted motorcycle license to drive them in the state. 

Alaska: You need a motorcycle license to drive M1, M2, or M3 two-wheelers in Alaska. A DMV road test or an approved motorcycle class certificate is required to apply for a new license.  

Arizona: Scooters are ‘motor-driven cycles,’ and you must be at least 16 to apply for a motorcycle license or endorsement. Those under 18 must also hold a valid instruction permit that has been valid for at least six months. 

Arkansas: Those 16+ need a Class M license to drive scooters and similar motor-driven cycles. Ages 14-15 can drive scooters under 250cc with a Class MD license. 

Florida: Scooters fall under the definition of motorcycles. So, you need a Class E license and must be over 16 years of age. Scooters under 50cc require a motorcycle endorsement only. 

Hawaii: You need at least a valid Class 1 license to drive a scooter in Oahu. The vehicle registration should be renewed annually, with a safety inspection.  

Mississippi: Scooters come under “motorcycles” per the state’s law. So, you must have a valid driver’s license with a motorcycle endorsement to drive one legally. 

Pennsylvania: Depending on the type and classification, you’ll need a Class C or Class M license to drive a scooter in the state.  

Utah: You must add a restricted motorcycle endorsement to your standard driver’s license to drive a motor scooter or moped. 

Read: How Long Does it Take to Get a Driver’s License? Way.com Knows!

States that do not require any license or permit 

North Carolina: License not needed, but you must be 16 or older to drive a scooter on public streets and highways. Wearing a helmet is also mandatory.  

Virginia: To drive a titled and registered scooter or moped in public areas, you need a valid government-issued photo ID. But the ID needn’t be a driver’s license. 

In Nebraska, the definition of a scooter or moped includes operational pedals. Make sure your vehicle does not fall under the “motorcycle” category before driving it without a license. 

Also See: How to Update Driver’s License in a New State: Things to Know

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